• Jeff Beck

Peacemaker: The Complete First Season: One of the Best New Shows of Recent Years (Blu-ray)


The Show:


For the last several years, James Gunn has shown himself to be one of the strongest talents in the field of bringing comic books to the big screen, giving us not only a pair of great Marvel films with "Guardians of the Galaxy: Volumes 1 & 2," but also delivering the best DC Comics adaptation in the Post-Nolan era with "The Suicide Squad." With this string of grand successes, it seemed inevitable that the higher ups would want him to bring those talents to the smaller screen as a TV show, which brings us to "Peacemaker," a series that continues the adventures of the popular character from his previous DC outing.


Picking up five months after the Suicide Squad's mission in Corto Maltese, Peacemaker (John Cena) returns home after recovering from his injuries and is confronted by agents of A.R.G.U.S.: Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland), Clemson Murn (Chukwudi Iwuji), John Economos (Steve Agee), and Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks). They give him a simple choice, either return to prison or help out on a new mission mysteriously called "Project Butterfly." He relunctantly accepts, and is very quickly thrown into a wild situation that involves reuniting with his father (Robert Patrick), getting attacked by a woman with superhuman strength, and plotting the assassination of a US Senator, which will ultimately shed more light on what this secret mission is all about.


Gunn has indeed been a breath of fresh air in the comic book adaptation genre, especially when it comes to DC Films, who had been struggling heavily to bring anything to the screen that would begin to compare with the quality of Marvel's works. "The Suicide Squad" (not to be confused with the disastrous David Ayer adaptation from 2016) showed that Gunn could take characters from either group and deliver films that had heart, humor, and exciting action, while constantly proving that he had a remarkable grip on the characters he was writing about. Because of this, it became quite an exciting possibility when he was tasked with continuing his impressive streak in a serial format.


In almost no time at all, Gunn manages to bring all of the qualities that we've come to expect from his projects to "Peacemaker," combining the skillful use of the characters with great touches of comedy, emotion, and, of course, plenty of insanely over-the-top action. This is that rare kind of show where, once one episode is over, you immediately want to jump into the next one to see what craziness could possibly happen next, which is something that sadly doesn't seem to happen very often with television anymore.


On top of Gunn's skilled writing, you have an exceptional cast that's very much up to the task of breathing life into these oddball characters. John Cena, in particular, continues to impress in the role of Peacemaker/Christopher Smith, giving him all the zany & humorous attributes to make him a rather compelling lead character. The rest of the ensemble does an equally fantastic job with the bizarre material, which no doubt provided quite a challenge, at least as far as trying to keep a straight face goes, but they met it quite effectively.


This is a show that could've easily gone way too far off the rails, but what makes it all the more impressive is that it consistently goes off the rails in all the best ways, while never losing the elements that make Gunn's work stand out in the first place. Nor was there a reason to believe that such a thing could be sustainable for television, but as mentioned, Gunn shows us practically right away that he knows how to play the long game as well. Ultimately what we end up with here is one of the best new shows to come along in recent years, one that leaves its audience wondering how in the world they could possibly top what's already come with its highly-anticipated second season. One things for sure, with Gunn once again taking charge of writing every episode, we can be sure it will be well worth the wait.


Video/Audio:


"Peacemaker: The Complete First Season" comes to Blu-ray in a 16:9, 1080p High Definition transfer of outstanding quality. The image looks beautifully sharp and bright, highlighting the show's extensive visual effects work. Likewise, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is fantastic, giving you all of the dialogue, sound effects, and soundtrack in excellent quality. Overall, in typical Warner Bros. fashion, this release doesn't disappoint in either department.


Special Features:


Disc 1


Making the World Safe for Violence: Peacemaker's Team (12 Minutes)

Bad Daddy Issues: Peacemakers Search for Inner Peace (5 Minutes)

Peacemaker: Under the Helmet (3 Minutes)

Project Butterfly Team Members (8 Minutes)

On Set with Steve Agee (2 Minutes)

Dramatic Comic Book Readings with Chukwudi Iwuji (2 Minutes)


Disc 2


Gag Reel (9 Minutes)

Unlocking the Quantum Unfolding Storage Area (2 Minutes)

Peacemaker and Vigilante: BFFs (2 Minutes)

So, What Do You Really Think of Peacemaker? (2 Minutes)

Danielle Brooks Explains the DC Universe (2 Minutes)

Keep the Tweets (2 Minutes)

Dance for Peace (2 Minutes)

How to Properly Give a F*ck (1 Minute)


Unfortunately this is where this release falls a little short. There are a couple of featurettes that try to delve into the characters a little, and the gag reel is decent, but sadly the vast majority of these extras are pointless inclusions that run just a couple of minutes each.


Conclusion:


James Gunn brings his remarkable skills for adapting comics to the small screen with the marvelous "Peacemaker," which is not just one of the best comic book projects to come along in a while, but one of the best TV shows in general of recent years. Infusing his usual doses of comedy & heart, as well as a great grasp of the characters, Gunn delivers one of those rare shows where you simply can't wait to see what could possibly happen next.


Score: 4.5/5


Available on Blu-ray starting tomorrow.


Follow me on Twitter @BeckFilmCritic.



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